UPDATE: Gov. Bill Lee signed this bill on Friday. However, students in Shelby County Schools still will have to mask up because of an injunction in a lawsuit filed by SCS parents. Get details on the local impact here.
UPDATE: Shelby County filed an emergency motion for clarification Thursday, seeking information on what obligations Shelby County would have in order to comply with state law.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee is expected to sign sweeping COVID-19 legislation into law by the end of the week.
The new law will strip power from local health agencies, public schools and some private businesses by banning them from requiring vaccinations from their employees. It will also allow workers who quit a job because of a vaccine mandate to collect unemployment.
As the current law is written, hospitals have to allow a family member to visit a patient who has COVID, but the governor said that language needs to be re-written to apply only to dying COVID patients.
The law will also ban health departments and schools from requiring masks.
Shelby County health director, Michelle Taylor, said the school mask mandate will be lifted when the law takes effect.
“The guidance for schools has not changed. There is still a universal mask requirement in our K-12 schools, daycares and pre-K and until that bill actually goes into effect, the guidance will not change,” Taylor said.
Dr. Taylor said when the school mask mandate is lifted it will be more important than ever for children to be vaccinated.
The county will host two vaccination clinics for children aged 5-11 this weekend.
One will be held at the Glenview Community Center tomorrow from 2-7 p.m.
The other will be Saturday at the Hickory Hill Community Center 9-2 p.m.
Personnel from the Pipkin site will be used to staff those clinics so the Pipkin site will be closed this weekend, starting Thursday because of Veterans Day and on Nov. 30 the Pipkin site will close permanently.
The health department will continue to offer vaccinations at the Germantown Baptist Church and Southwest Community College.